Curved Area Light

Total Posts: 1

Can anyone tell me if it is possible to curve an Area Light?

I have a counter which need to have lighting around the base, I was wondering if it was possible to draw an area light at the correct width as counter and then transform it into a curve?

If this is not possible is there an easy way of doing this apart from adding in a light section to every section of curve?


Total Posts: 286

Hello Jamie,

I’m afraid it isn’t possible to make a curved area light directly and, as you surmise, you will need to construct the curve from several individual area lights.

For your model, are you more interested in having the light directly visible in the render, or in having the light cast onto other surfaces? Or both? Area lights only cast light onto other surfaces and aren’t themselves visible. To make a ‘glowing’ surface, you need to apply a Shaderlight ‘Self Illuminating’ material, which you can easily apply to any surface that you’ve modelled in SketchUp. To get both effects, model the surface in SketchUp and apply a self illuminating material, and then place area lights a millimetre or two in front of the surface to have it appear to cast light onto other parts of the model.

I hope that helps,
Shaderlight support

Total Posts: 394

Hi Jamieellis,

I recommend not using area lights but .ies lights instead.

If you are designing millwork for a real world application and you are specifying the underlighting, check with the lighting manufacturer for appropriate .ies files for the specific model you are using and position them exactly as you would position the fixtures in real life.

If not, check out this page for an led strip product:

Near the bottom of the page, look for two links:

1) the data sheet for the product
2) ies files

The ies link is a zip file within a zip file that contains a folder for each length of strip available (125 mm to 1000 mm). These are straight lines so pick a length that represents a logical segment for your curve(s). For each length, there are several options for color temperature.  Refer to the bottom of the first page of the data sheet for corresponding model numbers and temperatures. Extract the file you want to use.

Create a shaderlight ies light in sketchup. (Check out the tutorial video on how to do this, or ask for help here if you still get stuck). The longest “wings” of the shaderlight ies object represents the orientation of the light (but not the length).

A great trick I learned from EGIE is to never use naked ies lights in your model if you are planning to use more than one of the same light.  Instead, create a component that includes a line and your light object.  Two powerful advantages to this include:

1) the line may make movement and positioning of the component easier
2) if you decide to change the ies file, the colour or intensity of the light object, you only need to do it once inside the component and all copies of the component will update automatically. If you don’t use this component method, you will have to manually change every similar light manually. 

This is not a big deal if you have one or two instances, but in this example, I am using 43 x 125mm (5-inch) light strips.  Changing all of these manually would be painful.

I guess I just revealed the last piece of this solution: using the ies lights. I drew a line that followed the curve of my base and attached ies lights at 125mm intervals (rotating them so the longest dimension of the shaderlight model aligned with the curve), grouped the lights and positioned them under the overhang of my base.

The light intensity from the ies file should be true to the real world, so make sure you have your scene lit correctly before using these.  If your scene is too dark, then the ies lights will look washed out when the exposure compensates for the low light.  The reverse is true if your scene is too bright, you may not see the under lights.

I’ve attached two images (zoomed out and zoomed in) to illustrate the outcome.

I will post the model to the 3D Warehouse so you can pick it apart and experiment.

I hope this helps.


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Total Posts: 394

Here is a link to the model: